Laboratory of Surface Characterization

The Laboratory of Surface Characterization has been established in the frame of the SWORFISH -Superb Wood Surface Finishing- project.
The lab provides a series of integrated services for the determination of characteristic wood surface parameters, the evaluation of the surface durability, before and after processing/weathering, the compatibility of the finishing techniques with the requirements of economical and ecological sustainability (life cycle analysis), and with the human and environmental health and safety.


Anna Sandak (responsible)
Jakub Sandak
Paolo Grossi
Marta Petrillo


Characterization of wood surfaces
The Laboratory of Surface Characterization is equipped with an integrated set of commercial and prototype instruments for the determination of the surface properties of wood at the various structural scales (from the nano to the macroscale).
The procedure developed for wood surface characterization includes the following main analyses:
– near infrared spectra 
– mid infrared spectra 
– surface color
– pattern
– surface roughness
– surface gloss
– wetability 

Moreover, the following complementary analyses can be performed, in collaboration with other IVALSA Labs:
– densitometry
– yearly ring analysis
– microscopic analysis
– hygroscopic properties

Surface treatments
The Lab is equipped for the application of surface coating techniques, including painting, spraying and immersing.
Other techniques are applied and studied in collaboration with other IVALSA Labs (drying and thermal treatment in vacuum kiln, thermo-mechanical modification, surface smoothening, mechanical processing), the University of Trento (surface modification by plasma treatment, innovative coatings) and industrial partners.

Characterization of wood machining processes
A multisensor experimental platform for the characterization of wood machining processes has been developed. The goal of the platform is to measure all input parameters (such as those related to tool, processing conditions, machine and workpiece) and link them to various phenomena in the output of process (i.e. generated, chips, machine vibrations, temperature changes, power consumption), which affect the final quality of the wood product surface.

Natural and artificial weathering tests
Long-term performance and durability of wood surfaces can be experimentally evaluated according to two testing modalities: outdoor exposure or artificial weathering. The former method even if closer to reality is in fact hardly acceptable due to very long testing time. The artificial methods commonly used today limit the ageing to radiation and water resistance. The weathering machine developed in the frame of the SWORFISH project and available at the Laboratory of surface characterization, allows simulating the real changes of climate such as seasons, day/nigh, rain/acid rain, solar radiation, freezing of the surface, soil contact. In particular, the machine is composed of two chambers simulating two different climatic/seasonal conditions: the “summer” chamber and the “winter” chamber.

Research on environmental impacts of wood finishing technologies
Novel surface modifications and treatments are carefully evaluated from the point of view of their impact on the human and environment. The life cycle analysis, recyclability and hazard to the surroundings are investigated for all new developments.


X-ray densitometer (with option for CT scanning)
- 3D roughness scanner
- Sessile drop multi-view scanner
- Willhelmy balance
- Reflectance scanner
- MID Infrared Spectrometer
- NIR Infrared Spectrometer
- UV-VIS-NIR spectrograph for wood surfaces
- VIS-NIR hyper spectral color mapping scanner
- Artificial weathering machine


Wood surfaces
Surface finishing
Surface characteristics
Wood roughness/geometrical structure
Wood surface pattern/texture




[Last updated on: 20-09-2017]
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